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Forest fires raged across Washington state this summer

Hunter Robbins-Bilow, Staff Reporter

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  Every year the Northwest always has fires, but this year was one of the worst with 55 fires. Out of the 55 fires Montana has twenty-six active fires, Idaho has eighteen active fires, and Washington has eleven fires currently active.

When a forest fire is starting, small teams are sent out to try and deal with the fire. “When the fire gets to the point of having multiple fire teams out fighting the fire, the fire fighters end up being specialized fire fighters that have experience with forest fires and how to deal with them,” said Andy Finley the firefighting captain at station 3 in Kennewick.

When a forest fire starts, the most senior and experienced fire fighter is put in charge of all the fire teams and the coordination of the operation” said Alex Hanby a firefighter at station 3 in Kennewick. The way a fire is classified as being a danger to cities and towns nearby is by the fire chief in charge. He or she  looks at weather reports, the layout of the area, also by their expectations, and previous  experiences of how other fires that are similar  behaved.

Some ways that the fires are contained are by planes and helicopters dropping foam or water on the fires, digging trenches and covering everything that the fire could use as fuel, firefighters also sometimes initiate controlled burns so that the fire has nothing to burn  and it will hopefully cut off the fire said Hanby.

With the 11 fires in Washington the air quality dropped to very unhealthy levels at the worst of the smoke in the air, but the smoke was still an issue for anyone with asthma or other cardio respiratory conditions even when it wasn’t at its worst. Principal Chris Chelin said that during the school days when the smoke was at unhealthy levels, the school took safety precautions to keep the staff and students as healthy as possible. Chelin also said that the students’ and staffs’ safety was the school’s top priority. Some ways that Chelin did this was all sport practices were moved indoors and even some games were postponed until the smoke cleared up.

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The news site of Kamiakin High School
Forest fires raged across Washington state this summer